A few thoughts regarding spacenav on linux...

Questions and answers about 3Dconnexion devices on UNIX and Linux.

Moderator: Moderators

Post Reply
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Feb 06, 2009 7:32 pm
Location: greece

A few thoughts regarding spacenav on linux...

Post by GPD » Sat Feb 07, 2009 9:31 am

synopsis of ... nagging :)
although hardware 11 out of 10 - incredible feeling and perception of quality, software ...-273°C out of 10 :p


Got spacenav along with a wacom bamboo and I'm extremely happy with the comfort of doing my art work and navigation in presentations and their potential as input devices for mechatronic systems' control.

However, although the wacom support is INCREDIBLE, the instructions and the various files from here and there regarding the Linux support of the space navigator are chaotic to say the least and mainly third party.

John Chiombikas with "spacenavd" has done a very good job and I would like to thank him in public along with sending a private "thank you" email.

May I propose that 3dconnexion goes for his solution? It has the benefit that works on all linux distros and works well and first time.

Apart from these software adventures, (ate me an evening sorting it) the product is GREAT. I mean, really really GREAT and its price tag (about 50€) is very reasonable, unlike its launch price.

HOWEVER, having to spend a whole evening to sort it out after so much information scattered all over the internet and will trial and error is not my cup of tea of a happy customer experience.

How to improve things:

Not having Google Earth work with space navigator is a party stopper. I mean, it gives me the blues. I guess it makes all the penguins slightly pissed off, because apparently it shouldn't be more than a few hours fixing it for Linux and we all now how linux and FL/OSS savvy are the ppl in google.

Also, providing support mainly to the few expensive program like maya which very few linux ppl are likely to use, does not build a market in Linux, especially if even them report problems.

On the other hand, supporting oodraw, gimp, blender, inkscape, celestia, google earth and any application that features window zooming and panning would most definitely help expand the market.

I realise that the Linux market is not as large as that of windows in desktop, but it is a very technically savvy market with a great appetite for new things and ideas. Being that, gives a great potential for spacenav, if it is provided with good support. I might be a smaller pool, but it has a higher concentration of fish, utilises word of mouth marketing and has the ability to address its own problems.

See what happens with other brands that support linux throughout their range, for example HP laser printers. Not a single friend of mine here in Athens that runs linux bought anything else for a laser. Why? 101% guaranteed it will work. The same with wacom tablets. There exist MUCH cheaper, but since wacom are plug 'n' play, ppl buy them with closed eyes. Also, when somebody is happy with a product in Linux, he would advise in favour of this product for windows too. Although there fewer linux ppl out there, they "make more noise" on the internet, so the chances of reading a linux biased opinion in an article on the internet is very likely. (Try googling "windows vista" and "windows XP" and then "Linux" to see the number of lemmas returned.)

Then, the license of the drivers and the PE and SE version. IHMO a bad movement. It allows to drop the price from 200 to 50 without having those that paid 200 feeling genuinely stupid, but it creates a FUD situation, regarding what will happen if one builds a system incorporating this hardware. It might be argued to be a market expander, but at the same time it might have the opposite effect.

Finally, what about games?
Ok, we know Linux doesn't have many, but for the few it does (e.g. ETQW) being able to use this controller would make it a dream add-on every gamer would go for (e.g. flying the anansi in ETQW with this should be a very serious gaming advantage.)

my 2¢!

Posts: 13
Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 5:05 am

Post by pyalot » Mon Feb 09, 2009 4:10 am

As for application support, I've written about this quite a lot. In danger of repeating myself, I make it short.

1) get rid of stupid custom proprietary software that opens windows and requires a special API in your application
2) Use standard driver support systems of linux, such as evdev properly.

The device Is great, I jumped trough the hoops to make it work for me without the stupid proprietary software and non linux standard ways of doing it, but not every application developer is going to be as enthusiastic.

Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Aug 05, 2009 9:47 am

Post by aeirt » Wed Aug 05, 2009 9:53 am

I agree entirely with the original post. I love the hardware - I have a SpacePilot and think it's designed and built absolutely beautifully. But the Linux drivers are, frankly, terrible. While Windows users have a great set of programs and drivers that both work well and are easy to use, we Linux users have to make do with really appalling software. I just tried to uninstall the official drivers to give spacenavd a go, but uninstalling those drivers was nigh-on impossible. There is no documentation supplied with it, and the implementation seems rather convoluted.

I very much like the Spaceball series of 3d mice, but frankly unless I am forced to move back to Windows, there is no way I will be buying another. It seems ridiculous that so much time, effort and money has evidently been poured into developing such a good set of devices, but that is all for nothing with the linux drivers the way they are.

Post Reply